Israel does not want war with Hezbollah, but is prepared to face about 2,000 rockets a day from the terror group if conflict breaks out, a senior Israeli military official told AFP.
During the 11-day May conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian terror groups fired around 4,400 projectiles towards the Jewish state. The Iron Dome air defense system intercepted around 90 percent of the rockets headed for populated areas, while just under 300 hit inhabited districts.
Cities like Tel Aviv and Ashdod experienced the “highest number of fire towards them in the history of Israel,” said Uri Gordin, chief of the army’s Home Front Command. “We saw a pace of more than 400 rockets fired towards Israel on a daily basis.”
Gordin said that in the case of a future “conflict or a war with Hezbollah, we expect more than five times the number of rockets fired every day from Lebanon to Israel.”
“Basically, we are looking at between 1,500 and 2,500 rockets fired daily towards Israel,” he told AFP.
The IDF’s Home Front Command is in charge of civil defense, meaning it is responsible for readying the country in case of threat, conflict, or disaster. The unit was criticized for its response to the 2006 war with Hezbollah, which killed more than 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis.
That war was a “wake-up call” for the Home Front Command, Gordin said, adding that it had since beefed up its liaison units, which are now active across 250 Israeli municipalities to provide assistance in case of any attack. The Home Front Command uses computer projections to predict a rocket’s trajectory after it has been launched, and advises the public, within a specific range, to head to bomb shelters.
During the Gaza conflict in May, this allowed emergency services to “go to every incident within less than five minutes,” Gordin said in an interview from the control room of the unit’s headquarters in Ramle. He said preparations had been made for any incidents on the border with Lebanon.
An Israeli security source told AFP that the IDF is hoping for “stability” with its northern neighbor, which is mired in a crippling economic crisis, and on Thursday saw deadly sectarian clashes in the capital Beirut that left seven dead, including Hezbollah members.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah is “the source of instability in Lebanon,” the security source said, adding that the group “exploits the state’s resources for Iranian interests.”
Iran is “closer to creating fissile material for nuclear weapons than they ever were in the past” but would still need two years to obtain a bomb, the source said, echoing a timeframe cited by other Israeli officials.
“We are preparing for all options and scenarios, including military capabilities,” the security source said.